All dogs, both young and old, can benefit from regular exercises. There are several advantages of dog exercise such as toned muscles, better sleep, strong bones, improved mood and improved mental alertness just to mention a few. To keep your dog physically and mentally fit, there are several high-energy activities such as agility training, ball fetching, jogging and tracking, which you can make them engage in. It’s important to ensure that your dog gets enough exercise to prevent him or her from developing health issues like obesity, as well as engaging in destructive behavior.
How Much Exercise is Enough?
Exercise needs vary from one dog to the other. Some dogs have higher energy levels, and consequently need intense exercises and more play time, while others are couch-potato like. Monitor your dog to find out the amount and type of exercise he or she requires. A fifteen minutes walk twice daily may be sufficient for some dogs. But others will require at least two thirty-minutes walks per day.
Take into consideration the age of your dog. Adolescent dogs have more energy and can easily outrun you, whereas the older ones may not be able to keep up with rigorous exercises because of old age.
You’ll know that your dog hasn’t been exercised enough if she shows no signs of exertion or pent-up energy after returning from a walk. Try extending the length of your walking or jogging time, as well as playtime indoors to give your dog enough exercise.
Keeping your dog’s breed in mind is important when planning an exercise routine. For instance, small dogs with short legs shouldn’t be exercised the same way as their larger counterparts. In addition, breeds that have short noses may find it difficult to breathe properly during rigorous exercises, so find what exercises are suitable for your dog.
First Things First
Take him or her to the veterinary for a check-up before starting a high-energy exercise program. Let the vet check out your dog’s joints, ligaments, heat, lungs, weight and fitness level to ensure that everything is fine. Overweight dogs need more exercises, besides being placed on a diet.
In addition, teach your dog to jog at the same pace as you. Imagine having to drag her from behind when running at a faster speed. Not only will you damage her throat, but you may be thrown off balance as well. So, jogging or running with her at the same pace is very important.
Also, teach her how to sit down calmly. This is very important during the times you’ll have to stop at intersections or when approaching other joggers, dogs, bicyclists, as well as other potential distractions.
Increase Exercise Gradually
Just like you would do with yourself, increase the intensity and duration of your dog’s exercises gradually. Commence each session with a steady walk to get your dog’s muscles working and ready for more vigorous activity. You should never assume that she’s an athlete naturally and should, therefore, be able to engage in intense exercises right away without warming up.
Sniff And Potty Breaks
It’s normal for dogs to sniff the ground when you take them for walks. Don’t be frustrated when she does the same during your jogging session. The key is to train him to focus on you when jogging. Before beginning your exercise session, give her enough time to sniff around and relieve herself. After you’re done, have a cool-down period of at least five minutes for both of you to relax; let the dog have a chance for sniffing and pooping before taking her inside.
Be careful not to push your dog too hard. If she stops while you’re in the middle of an exercise, it’s a sign that she’s tired, so allow her to rest. Signs of tiredness to watch out for include heavy panting, or running from one side of the road to the other. When you see any of these, take her home to rest.
Establish a Routine
Exercising your dog requires consistency and commitment on your part. Make it a daily routine, instead of just exercising on weekends. This is particularly vital for puppies, overweight dogs, senior dogs, as well as those with different health conditions.
Daily exercises will enable both you and your dog to build up stamina gradually. Depending on your schedule, come up with a plan that you can stick to.